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    Is UK Shale Gas Extraction Posing A Risk To Public Health?
    By News Staff | April 17th 2014 09:19 PM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    More needs to be done to investigate the risks to human health that extracting shale gas poses, suggests a personal view published on bmj.com today.

    Dr. Seth Shonkoff, Executive Director for Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, and his colleagues say that operations to produce natural gas from formations such as shale sometimes occur "close to human populations", but efforts to understand the potential impacts have fallen short, focusing on regulations rather than on health outcomes.

    He says that risk reduction technologies should certainly be deployed, but that reviewing the public health implications of shale gas development "requires more than merely gesturing to technological improvements". "Best practices", he adds, "should not be mistaken for actual practices". In other words, Dr. Shonkoff asserts that scientific data should drive decisions on health and safety, instead of gestures to understudied assertions of best practice deployment.

    The recent Public Health England draft report on the extraction of shale gas does "recognize that many uncertainties surround the public health implications", however, there are "problems with its conclusions".

    Dr. Shonkoff adds that many "public health impacts remain undetermined and more environmental and public health studies are needed". He says "more attention should have been paid to drilling in areas that are densely populated" especially following results from studies, which suggest that health risks have direct relation to the "geographical proximity of residences to active shale gas extraction" with further evidence suggesting adverse birth outcomes.

    Dr. Shonkoff concludes that there is a need for the "assessment of the public health infrastructure and the ability of healthcare professionals to respond to the risks presented by the development of the shale gas industry" and that rigorous research is needed to assess the risks to public health.




    Comments

    Obviously, in no small part to ridiculous statements like this, UK shale is not posing any risk at all since there isn't any.
    Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health doesn't see any risks
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/shale-gas-extraction-emissions-are-a-...

    So why, in a site called science, is there credence given to the personal opinion of one man? There are doctors who allegedly believe the MMR vaccine is dangerous. The aptly named Shonkoff, should sulk off.

    Hank
    It's a science site, it has 120,000 articles. If you find one article you disagree with, you want it banned and declare it so dangerous that our audience will somehow be damaged by it. That kind of deficit thinking has never been found accurate. We have one article on water memory too, and one speculating if the LHC could create a black hole that would swallow earth. Science did not crash to a halt over those.
    A strong belief is not science. I assume you don't publish anything that says dinosaurs walked the earth with Adam and Eve, or that the earth is really flat either.
    Similarly, in this case, and too many others in the shale gas debate, data is not the plural of anecdote. I also realise that you're only recycling the BMJ piece, which is the really scary part. The story has no more validity than the MMR "controversy". How many children did that kill?